Posts Tagged ‘Prince’

Luscious Jackson

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Listen: Naked Eye / Luscious Jackson

Luscious Jackson never did manage to spin their wheels beyond the college market for very long.

Oh yes, the good old college market as it was once known. You don’t hear that tag being sold much these days, which clearly coincides with college radio’s withered presence. The format was always an interesting free for all when it came to musical selection, but the consistent requirement to allow untrained students airtime meant ultimately, those amateur deliveries put most listeners off. Only the die hards could withstand the dead air and weak back sells in exchange for hearing something different.

‘Naked Eye’ became Luscious Jackson’s temporary out of jail free card, gaining enough play to reach #36 on BILLBOARD’s Top 100. Despite name producers and an old school record label, their homemade, amateur sound was never lost. In fact, as with ‘Naked Eye’, they didn’t really sounded like a group were playing together at all. Despite their attempts at rap coming closer to a suburban high school band than some street toughs from New York’s Lower East Side, their squeaky clean middle class take on Prince basically boiled down to reheated Waitresses, but it kinda worked, and I always found myself fond of their singles.

T. Rex

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Listen: I Love To Boogie / T. Rex
I Love To Boogie / T. Rex

Everyone loves Marc Bolan. If you don’t, then you are not being honest with yourself. He made so many great records, never stopped trying in the early rejection years, and became a advocator for punk as it overtook glam in the later years. He didn’t get into that us-against-them frame of mind. Instead, he found love and warmth for the new voice of youth. He was never going to grow old. Did any of his peers invite The Damned on tour? We all know the answer.

‘I Love To Boogie’ was called throwaway by singles critics in the weekly UK music press. But critics tend to try dragging you into their poor, frustrated and unpleasant misery….if you let them.

‘I Love To Boogie’ has stood the test of time. It’s simplicity now a greater power than the most produced, orchestrated and probably commercially more successful tracks at the time by the likes of, say, Queen, The Electric Light Orchestra and Toto too.

Just as with Prince’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ or ‘Kiss’, less is more. Way, way more.

Jill Jones

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Listen: For Love / Jill Jones
For Love / Jill Jones

Just like artists, labels can go from nothing very collectible for ages to suddenly more desirable and even, sometimes seemingly overnight, through the roof.

Paisley Park isn’t quite the latter yet, but with the sudden realization that Prince is a living legend, my guess is some of the more obscure releases, in near mint condition, will start to dry up.

The label design was always beautiful, and in particular, UK pressings are stunning. 7′s by Mavis Staples, The Time, Sheila E and George Clinton are impossible to pass on. But heads up, despite the packaging and font, do not sleep on Jill Jones.

’87 was the year. As a back-up singer for his various projects from the start of the decade, her only Prince written/produced album, JILL JONES, dropped in February of that year. Prince was credited as a co-writer with Jones, but apparently wrote all of the songs himself. Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from critics, but shockingly failed to chart anywhere and has been out of print for many years.

The three singles it spawned are even harder finds, with the last of them, ‘For Love’, in my opinion, being the best.

Signature Prince is all over this one, the squeals, the wallops, his meticulously clean rhythm playing, it’s all there. Very few records swing like ‘For Love’. I bet I played this twenty, maybe thirty times tonight alone.

Prince does another in his series of seemingly endless Madison Square Garden shows this evening. Better than ever, if you can believe it. Last week he opened with ‘Kiss’ and that was just the beginning.

Mica Paris

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

MicaYoungSoulPS, Mica Paris, Big Life

Listen: Young Soul Rebels / Mica Paris MicaParisYoungSoulRebels.mp3

Lucky Mica Paris, the credibility maintained despite most of her output becoming dated pretty quickly. It wasn’t for lack of effort. Julian Palmer, RnB obsessed A&R guy, tried matching her with US producers, getting even Prince on board, all in an attempt to spread voice and personality to worldwide attention.

Nope. Mica was desperately rooted in that UK version of US soul. Despite being so ahead of the curve and/or completely in tune with the times, the English never quite coined the pure American black sound. UK rap being especially embarrassing, every last bit of it. Okay, some of it’s funny.

No matter, the dated ball and chain ended up framing Mica’s stuff nicely as period pieces. Time heals many things. You see, I for one quite liked a lot of the soggy UK soul attempts.

‘Young Soul Rebels’ has a track humbly reminiscent of Diana Ross’ ‘Love Hangover’ atop a perfectly sterile Soul II Soul drum pattern, all ‘feel the beat beneath your feet’ stuff. My first listen to her trail-off inflection on that initial “fighting for the right to be free” lyric in the chorus and I was sold. Besides, it’s the theme to the film of the same name – which although unseen to these eyes, hopefully is an amusing self celebration of and by UK soul fans. Fingers crossed that image won’t be spoiled by getting a copy.


Monday, November 10th, 2008

Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars test pressing

Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars

Love Makes The World Go Round / Deon Jackson

I hung out with Phil tonight. He stopped by to get some songs needed for a DJ job in Scotland that he’s schlepping to. He started brainstorming about his next project, The Cherry Truckers and played me a few tracks. It’s going to be pretty hot.
We met ten years ago when I picked up his band The Lo Fidelity Allstars for Columbia and became fast record collecting friends. We certainly had some fun bus rides on those US tours. Then a few months ago, by ridiculous coincidence, he and Holly bought an apartment two blocks from me. Why he left England is a constant to and fro between us but that’s another story. Deservedly, their single ‘Battleflag’ became a pretty big hit even in the States. You see the original version, which was blocked from release, had a Prince bit in it. The Lo Fi’s publisher, Warner-Chappell also published Prince, but couldn’t seem to get him to clear it – or according to some sources, had no rapport with him to even present the idea at all – so off it came. This post is that uncleared version. Some white labels were initially pressed for clubs, but the legal department freaked and in addition to ordering them destroyed – covered their asses by having them stamped ‘Uncleared Sample – Do Not Circulate’ first, just in case. That was way too tempting for me. I had a pal in the plant grab a few boxes and send them straight over to my office. They have since changed hands on eBay for crazy amounts. Worth it I must say. More importantly, this version is out there as it should be – and I bet Prince would like it too. See if you can spot the potential issue.

Listen: Battleflag / The Lo Fidelity Allstars 07 Battleflag.mp3

So Phil is flipping through stuff, putting together some songs to play at this Scottish do. Inevitably, these are the fun moments, when one good track leads you to find another. Not having heard this in ages, we gave it a play. I’d forgotten about it’s deep soul production, one only a great voice can fill. Never knew at the time if this was a guy or girl. Deon was pronounced just like Dionne, and it always baffled me until I saw him on Shindig. This record actually got it’s start on TV. It was CKLW’s Swingin’ Time, Detroit’s local American Bandstand knockoff that triggered it. He even managed an album on Carla’s parent label, Atco. According to Wikipedia, he’s a student supervisor nowadays.

Listen: Love Makes The World Go Round / Deon Jackson 11 Love Makes The World Go Round.mp3